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IP.Board 3.2.0: Remote Skin Editing

Posted by Matt , 08 April 2011 · 8,229 views

IP.Board's Admin CP comes with many useful and powerful tools to edit your board's skin. You can edit virtually all of the HTML as well as the CSS from within the "Look & Feel" interface. This suits most people but sometimes you just want to use your own desktop editing tools so you can take full advantage of your text editor's syntax coloring, search and replace, merge and other tools.

We added a tool back in IP.Board 3.1 to enable this in a limited way. If you put the board into 'developer mode', you could export the templates into a PHP file per skin group. This worked reasonably well but many found it tricky to put the board into developer mode as it requires different folders and files to be created and exporting the templates into a single PHP file meant that an external merge tool wasn't effective.

We're pleased to say that we've overcome these issues in IP.Board 3.2 by using the popular WebDAV protocol. This protocol is already used by many popular applications like Dropbox to synchronise files between your desktop and their servers. We've used this existing technology to allow you to edit your board HTML and CSS in a totally native format right on your desktop. Indeed as far as your computer is concerned, these are local files!

Posted Image

I've taken a short video (sorry, no sound!) that takes you through a template and CSS edit. I've used the mobile skin for this demonstration as we're not ready to reveal the new skin just yet.

Here's a quick walk through of what you see on screen.

- I log into 'Transmit' which is an OS X FTP/WebDav app. You can use the 'Connect to server...' option in Finder for this task but I find Transmit faster as it caches requests whereas Finder does not.
- I use my forum ACP username and password to log in.
- I browse the template groups, select 'global' and then globalTemplate.html.
- I make a simple edit and save.
- I browse the CSS folder and open ipb_styles.css
- I make a simple edit and save.
- I then refresh the board and you can see the changes have taken instantly.

I hope you enjoy this great addition! You can use this with OS X, Linux and Windows and we'll prepare some guides nearer to IP.Board's release on how to make best use of this feature for your OS. I'm sure you'll agree that this offers an excellent way of editing templates outside of the Admin CP that doesn't need a special 'developer mode'.

Feel free to comment on this blog entry below or, if you have feedback unrelated to this blog entry, start a new topic in our feedback forum. Be sure to check the What's New in IP.Board 3.2 topic for a running list of announced changes!

  • Haku2, zbahadir, Donkerrood and 28 others like this

Amazing feature.

Simply amazing.
Wow, this is fantastic! I've been copy/pasting to and from TextMate, so this will save a huge amount of time! Nice to also see you using Transmit. :)
Apr 08 2011 07:32 AM
OH gosh yes! *runs through the comments naked!*

One thing I don't understand though is the logging in part, as I use Filezilla and Cyberduck for windows 7, how would I go about connecting to the server?
    • Martin A. likes this
Am I dreaming!!!!
On behalf of all of us skinners out there: THANK YOU SO MUCH. *bear hug*
Apr 08 2011 08:11 AM
Ok, that's really neat lol.
Apr 08 2011 09:20 AM
Apr 08 2011 09:21 AM
Nice! Use Transmit and TextMate too - amazing!
    • Claudia999 likes this
good job
Host Intens
Apr 08 2011 09:31 AM
Amazing feature
Holy crap. That's amazing.
Makes things 2000000x easier!
nice feature (w00t)
Should be using CSSEdit for the CSS! Posted Image
    • Claudia999 likes this
Awesome, I was so wanting this.
Awesome Matt. How about integrating Git to manage changes and updates?

Your mention of Dropbox made me think of this article http://pivotallabs.c...it-designer-luv and made me think how great it would be if we could manage skin changes and not just make them.

    • dogpatch likes this
Excellent :)
Wow, this will make skinning almost twice as fast.
That's flipping awesome! Totally impressed.

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